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Valley People (Sep 10, 2014)

AN ENTERPRISING Holmes Ranch man named Kelly Boss was the center of much County Courthouse attention last Friday. A search warrant served on a Cameron Road (Elk) property owned by Boss set in motion an investigation that revealed Boss's last reported income at around $40,000, but he was somehow able to finance $1.2M for the Philo property in 2011 and who knows how much at his Cameron Road place.

THIS MAY, when warrants were served on Boss's properties, 1255 marijuana plants were found at Cameron Road, along with 69 pounds of marijuana in various stages of processing, a large stack of cash, one of Boss's vehicles, and PG&E bills in Boss's name.  The average electricity use at that property over the six months leading up to May was $4,500/month. The mortgage payments for the two properties comes to a combined $12,000 a month. Two men detained at the Cameron Road property said they were working on the marijuana for "the owner," who they identified only as "Kelly."

THE HEARING REVEALED evidence of “money structuring” (manipulating deposits to circumvent the $10K reporting requirements) was seized at Boss's Chardonnay Road (Philo) property. Not a tough decision for Judge Behnke to hold Boss for trial. The defense will likely be that Boss is growing for some medicinal people in Los Angeles, although it seems evident Boss is making a ton of tax-free money. E.D. Lerman is representing the entrepreneurial Philo-Elk man.

BIG CROWD at the Boonville Fairgrounds for Sunday's Pop Warner football games, and another reminder that the Anderson Valley is a good place for a kid. From an early age, there are youth sports for both genders, and a variety of other wholesome activities typically overseen by parents and/or school people. There are also a lot of busy bodies, always a good thing in a real community, who report directly to the parents and/or Deputy Craig the noted errancies of strayed youth.

NOT THAT HIGH SCHOOL kids are likely to confide in their beloved community newspaper, or even know of its existence, but we don't hear much about local kids waylaid by drugs and so-called parties where dangerous amounts of alcohol are consumed. Maybe the constant message that dope and booze, indulged in prematurely or at any age, are likely to permanently derail the over-indulger has finally been absorbed (sic). It's a hard message to get across around here, especially here in the intoxicant's capital of America, nevermind the ever more degenerate popular culture, a quicksand of idiot images, inane statements, tweets, and non-musical music that the young (and the terminally stupid of all ages) find irresistible.

SPEAKING of our nation's future, I don't know whether to laugh or cry at the newly installed school bus (?) chutes in the Elementary School parking lot. What's next, cattle prods to make sure the little ones stay inside the ropes?

EVERY FEW YEARS I like to complain about Elementary School, as in Anderson Valley Elementary School. Is it too much to ask to name the place after someone? Of course the school apparat will say, "Well, golly-gee, think of all the pieces of paper we'd have to change." Etc. I've always thought Blanche Brown Elementary would be fitting since Miss Brown was not only a long-time local teacher and self-taught botanist who got the annual Wildflower Show going, she was descended from Valley pioneers.

YOU'VE GOT THE BOONVILLE FAIR this weekend, perhaps the last county fair in the state with an old time feel to it, and with enough stuff for the kids to have fun and get an idea what they all used to be like. And while you're over here for the annual event, you're invited, er, check that, most of you are invited, to stop in at the AVA's open house Saturday at our office high above Boonville in the “historical” Farrer Building, scene of many pre-War community social events and even a couple of murder trials. Today, it seems surrounded by varicose veins slurping ice cream cones, both tamer and much, much crazier than Boonville was in 1930. The newspaper you'll be visiting is something of a relic itself, the print paradigm having moved on, leaving us lost and alone in GizmoLandia.


COUNT THE WAYS: For openers, we can't assemble the paper by hand anymore because the printers have gone electronic, forcing us to go electronic, too. Second, and I've got to be careful here to avoid insulting whole generations of my fellow citizens, people under the age of 50 don't read newspapers anymore, or much of anything judging from their conversation. Newsstands have pretty much disappeared, bookstores, too, although Mendo still has a few, and this publication depended heavily on newsstands in our peak years, which now seem to have occurred circa 1990. But we're hanging on, still paying the bills and, hopefully, annoying all the right people, although just the other day a guy wrote in to say we've lost our “edge.” Maybe, but I'm not sure what “edge” means. I guess I could get a tattoo.

THE BOONVILLE CLINIC is in trouble for reasons described at length by numerous people, all of us grasping sections of the elephant's tail, the elephant being, "Why is founding medico Mark Apfel being forced out?" The weasel-lipped communication from the Clinic's board of directors only threw fuel on an enflamed Anderson Valley.

A LONG-TIME Anderson Valley resident wrote electronically last week: “What if the Clinic Board were to resign tomorrow, would we have a group of people ready to step in and govern the Clinic the way we would like to see it governed? Maybe some of you are already working quietly on this. If not, maybe it is time to do it. It is not going to be easy to find people with the skills, willing to make the commitment and take the chance that the Clinic might not keep its federal funding under their guidance.”

TO WHICH The Editor just had to toss in his two bits: “Hello everyone, Mr. Negative here. If the Clinic board suddenly resigned the new board would be exactly the same because, like all the boards in Boonville (and Mendocino County for that matter), the self-selected personages who occupy all of them seem genetically programmed to serve, no questions asked, the people they allegedly supervise. Hey! Thanks for listening."

THE CLINIC may be doomed. This same board now stumbling after Doc Apfel like a bunch of blind drunks, signed off on the financially disastrous expansion that has both put the Clinic in a serious fiscal hole and placed the Clinic in a more complicated federal paperwork category. Of course libs being libs, the Clinic board isn't about to point out that the Anderson Valley Health Center mostly functions as another huge subsidy for Mendocino County's new rulers, the Aristocracy of the Grape. The wineries and vineyards get free health care for their underpaid workers. And etc. The Aristocracy of the Grape should be funding the Clinic to, say, 75% of its annual budget.

GENE HERR COMMENTS: "The Anderson Valley Advertiser of last Wednesday says the people to whom the editor spoke called this meeting 'weird, bizarre, and completely nuts.' If you were not at the meeting, you may have heard accounts that confirm that. It was one of the most puzzling and peculiar meetings of any civic body that I have ever seen. There was no agenda posted. Chair Ric Bonner had to go out to get copies for directors and some extra, called the meeting to order, asked for May 19th minutes approval (not read, none available for review), approved by affirmation, no June minutes, no July minutes. (The Board is required to have public meetings, and to keep accurate records of meetings of directors and of action committees. The AVHC website now has the May and June minutes of Board meetings posted. Committee action is sometimes reported to directors but no written record is posted.

"25 MINUTES FOR PUBLIC COMMENT. Board Chair Ric Bonner opened public and Board comment for a scheduled 25 minutes. Around forty people, some who are becoming regulars at the Health Center’s directors’ meetings, and some there for the first time, spoke to support Mark Apfel, praising his skills, and his past work as founder of the clinic, and objecting strongly to the Board’s removal of him as Medical Director. Typical was this letter to this list, from Philo potters Jan Wax and Chris Bing. “I don't know of any other doctors, besides Mark Apfel, who make house calls. My 98 yr. old mother is too weak to visit a medical office. Mark takes the time to see her, when needed, before he goes to work at the Health Center. I'm appalled at the treatment he is receiving after all these years of good service to our community."

"OTHERS warned the Board that their actions would result in the destruction of the Center, the loss of community support, and the financial donations which keep the clinic operational. Fred Martin said he had circulated a petition at the Ambulance Benefit, asking directors to resign because they were 'polarizing the community over a pissing contest with Apfel, and they should get over it and get a whole new board.'

"JUDY NELSON, retired AVHC RN, asked for a Board 'responsive to the community, otherwise we have lost the clinic.' Philo Cakebread co-houser Daniel Myers repeated his remarks (in last week’s AVA) about having been push-polled by someone at his residence asking if he knew of any incident of Apfel’s malfeasance. He said the Board has a liability if they do not step in to stop the defamation, and offered to provide the name of the person involved so the Board would know who 'was behind the agenda.'

"MICHAEL NISSENBERG, Elk Master Weaver, emphatically said the Board should 'give us the grace of leaving voluntarily…we need new members who would work past the past and bring us into the future.' He said the criticism (of Apfel) comes from consultants who 'want your money, want your building, your grants.' This refers to the fact that the neighboring clinics that provide members of the 'shared service model of administration' fobbed off on the AVHC as a trial condition of the initial HRSA operations grant, are all competitors for the same pot of grant money and the same patient clients as AVHC, an apparent conflict of interest.

"NISSENBERG also questioned AV school superintendent JR Collins’ participating in grant applications for school-related programs, calling that too a conflict.

"AS SPEAKER after speaker voiced support of Apfel and questioned why he had been removed as medical director and treated so rudely, Board Chair Ric Bonner closed the comment period over audience protest. Director Eric Labowitz said he did not want Mark to leave and was trying to find a solution and there were questions of personnel confidentiality, legality and non-compliance.

"ACTION ON PUBLIC COMMENT? To a final question as to when the community could expect an outline of Board goals, Bonner said he needed time to carefully consider Board goals and ask the Board how to respond. This, in the face of the primary responsibility of a public benefit non-profit corporate Board of directors to clearly state and further the purpose of the corporation, is an outrageous admission of the failure of duty of this board. It is also the first public admission of division and paralysis of the directors, who normally hear committee reports in silence and approve unanimously without discussion.

"EXECUTIVE OFFICER’S REPORT. Case in point was the presentation of a largely inaudible report (no written report) from Executive Director Shannon Spiller who refused to take questions from 'the public' and specifically refused to take questions from Mark Apfel. I think Spiller told directors that new doctor Logan McGhan is on board, starting Friday, 9-5...."


PANTHER FOOTBALL — The Apple Bowl this Friday evening at 7pm at the fairgrounds will pit the two of the best high school football teams in the North Coast Central League III Division for 2014. The County Fair in Boonville always has the big football game on Friday evening of the fair. Of course this positive assessment of the two teams is speculation at this point based on pre-league practice games. Both Anderson Valley and Mendocino are undefeated in the early weeks of 2014, most of their wins by lopsided margins.

The Panthers versus the Point Arena Pirates last week was a close game with Anderson Valley winning 34-28. But Panther head coach Dan Kuny said, “It wasn't as close as the score would indicate. We fumbled six times inside our opponent's five-yard line. It shouldn't have been close at all.”

Coach Kuny certainly respects the Mendocino Cardinals' coaching staff on both offense and defense. Kuny added, “Reed Carter was the difference-maker over their past three seasons. He has graduated now, but their coaches are always going to make them competitive. This Apple Bowl game will be a big test for both teams. We hope everyone comes out to watch us play.”

The Panther roster is impressive. Jesus Valdivia is a heck of a good kicker this year. Tony Pardini will be the quarterback for his second straight year, and is showing real maturity now. Danny Eligio is a good linebacker. Erin Perez is very good as both offensive and defensive end. Tony Natareno is also a good defensive end and cornerback. Jerry Johnson is an excellent fullback and defensive end.

Cesar Soto is a terrific linebacker and almost unstoppable running back. JP Segura is a fine linebacker. Jesse Owens plays the offensive line with strength. Cedric Johnson will be a wonderful defensive end and nose guard. Will Lemons is a tall, rawboned and fast offensive line guard and very tenacious on defense.

Many of the players play both sides of the ball, offense and defense, and there's good bench strength as well. I will see you at the game where there will be the added bonus of Ernie Pardini announcing the game.

THE 2014 49ERS: I didn't like their draft this year except for running back Hoyte out of Ohio State. I was hoping they would draft Tre Mason, a running back out of Auburn. The guy runs a 4.3 second 40 yard dash and has excellent hands is a supple runner. He could have been our Percy Havin that the Seattle Seahawks got last year from Minnesota. I wanted the 49ers to get a burner at wide receiver also. I know the 49ers have several good receivers, but they are all twins. They are fine possession receivers. But they could have picked up Marquis Lee out of USC. Still, in the 49ers first win over the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday it was the first time I thought that Colin Kaepernick looked like an NFL quarterback. In his first two and a half years he has looked more like a tailback trying to play quarterback.

Go Panthers! Go Niners!

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